Sep 5, 2022

How to Make Things Happen

I’m reading the book “The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goal”.

Following are my takeaways from the book.

The four disciplines of execution are:

  1. Focus on the Wildly Important
  2. Work on Lead Measure
  3. Keep a Compelling Scoreboard
  4. Create a Cadeance of Accountability

Translating to layman term:

  1. Focus on the Wildly Important: Set one or two goals that you want to focus
  2. Work on Lead Measure: Figure out metric that will tell you how likely you can achieve the goal and is actionable
  3. Keep a Compelling Scoreboard: Ensure the metric is presented to everyone in a timely manner
  4. Create a Cadeance of Accountability: Hold frequent meeting to discuss about everyone progress and commitment

1. Focus on the Wildly Important

Keyword here is not “Wildly Important”, but “focus”.

Without focus, when life hits us we’ll be dealing with all the mundane stuff instead of working on the important but not urgent stuffs.

So how do we decide what goals to focus?

Instead of asking “what is most important”, which will probably leads to “everything is important”, ask this instead:

If we keep everything in the current state maintain at their level, what is the one or two thing that we can do to achieve highest impact on our life/organization?

2. Work on Lead Measure

There are two types of metrics: lag measures and lead measures.

Lag measures tell you if you have achieved your goal while lead measures tell you how likely you will achieve it. You could not act on lag measures as they have passed while lead measures can be improved based on your current action.

As an example, if you’re trying to lose weight, the number of kilogram/pound you lost is the lag measure, the calories you consume and the amount of your exercise are the lead measure.

Lag measure is important if we’re trying to evaluate an option, however it does not help with changing behavior as it’s always looking backward and there is very little you can do to make a difference.

Lead measure provides timely feedback to us as we can know in shorter period if we’re working well, and the best part of it is you can change your behavior now to improve it!

3. Keep a Compelling Scoreboard

A scoreboard should ideally be:

  • simple. The takeaway should be gained in less than 5 seconds.
  • visible. Put it at a place that is visible.
  • shows both lead measure and lag measure. This would motivates you as it shows the impact you have.
  • shows if the lead measure is exceeding/below the expected value.

To be continued…

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